The leader of India's Maoist rebels has vowed to unleash a "tornado" of violence if the government goes ahead with a planned large-scale offensive against his insurgent forces.
In an interview published in the latest edition of the weekly magazine Open, Mupalla Laxman Rao, better known as Ganapathi, said any offensive might secure some early gains but insisted final victory would lay in the hands of the rebels.
"Although the enemy may achieve a few successes in the initial phase, we shall certainly overcome and defeat the government offensive," Ganapathi said.
The interview was conducted at an undisclosed jungle location in eastern India, part of a vast, Maoist-affected region known as the "red corridor," which includes areas of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal states, and runs south through Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
These states and their police and paramilitary forces will be in the frontline of the planned anti-rebel offensive, which is expected to begin in November, with the involvement of hundreds of thousands of security personnel.
Ganapathi, a 59-year-old former schoolteacher, said the operation would provoke a mass response.
"People will rise up like a tornado under our party's leadership to wipe out the reactionary blood-sucking vampires ruling our country," he said, branding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram "terrorists."
Singh has described the Maoist insurgency, which began as a peasant uprising in 1967, as the single greatest threat to India's internal security.
The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of the rural poor and local tribes, but officials accuse them of using intimidation and extortion to collect money and to control impoverished villagers.